Reviews – The Living End Retrospective Tour: The Living End @ The Corner Hotel 21/12/12

In 1998 The Living End recorded their debut release The Living End. Last night the band revisited the album on the penultimate day of their Retrospective Tour of which frontman Chris Cheney referred to in an interview with Triple J’s Tom and Alex earlier this year as the “daunting, stupid tour”.

Resident Retrospective Tour DJ Cosmic Dolphin (Johnny Mackay from Children Collide) undertook his tour DJing duties as punters entered the venue. In what had become an indication to fans that the headliners were about to enter the stage, Mackay ended his second set with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Support act for the night between between DJing sets was Ivy and the Big Apples. As they entered the stage my friends brother turned to us and said, “Hey, its Kram” (drummer for Aussie legends Spiderbait), to which my friend replied, “It is Kram!” Next minute and two other musicians entered the stage and lo and behold it was Spiderbait performing under the guise of their third studio album, Ivy and The Big Apples.

Spiderbait Photograph by Lillian Altman

It’s quite common for bands to play gigs under secret guises, especially when testing out new material before their release. TLE have done this many times, most commonly playing under the moniker ‘The Longnecks’, and have also played as the ‘Safety Matches’.

Despite having not released an album since 2005 and performing little as a band since then Spiderbait played with no glitches in sight. Their set included tracks spanning their career from 1993-4’sRun to 2004’s Fucken Awesome. Black Betty was nowhere to be seen.

Spiderbait is set to headline Esplanade Hotel’s New Years Eve bash featuring another Retrospective Tour support act, Something For Kate.

The Living End
The Living End Photograph by Lillian Altman

As was done each night of the tour, TLE’s set was introduced by a short clip on the history of the album and other important events that happened in that period of time. At the conclusion of the clip the curtains were drawn back and the band kicked off the set with teen anthem and album opener Prisoner of Society.

The band looked like they were truly enjoying themselves performing to a home crowd, with no sign of fizzling out. This was evident halfway through the set, when frontman Chris Cheney said that he couldn’t remember which track the band were up to. This comes as no surprise as the performance was the third last show of a 39-date Australia-wide tour, which saw the band perform over 80 different tracks, including covers, over two months. The album was performed in chronological order with tour support act Area-7‘s horn section joining in on Trapped.

Unlike in the previous week when I went to their Roll On show, the band performed a two song encore to end the night. Getting in touch with the holiday season, TLE performed a Chuck Berry Christmas song, finishing off with 2004’s From Here On In single release I Can’t Give You What I Haven’t Got.

As evidenced on the bands fans Facebook profiles and fan pages, in this case, it was more shows that they couldn’t give their fans.

One thing I was surprised about was that the venue and security at The Corner Hotel, which quite a small venue, allowed punters to crowd surf. Many Australian music festivals such as Big Day Out and Soundwave and live music concert venues such as The Hi-Fi Melbourne and Rod Laver Arena state on their websites that crowd surfing at events and concerts, along with other dangerous behaviour is banned. Participating in these activities can result in ejection from the venue or festival.

The mosh pit on the night was the roughest I’d seen at a TLE show in the eight years I’ve been attended their gigs and performances at festivals. I was near the front of the mosh and I felt that the fans behind me constantly pushing the crowd towards the front rather than engaging in moshing. As I was much shorter than most of the other punters, I felt that I was constantly worrying more about avoiding being squashed rather than enjoying the music.

Unfortunately, my friends brother was kicked in the face and given a black eye by a guy who was crowd surfing and I left the venue with bruised and sore arms from having my arms squashed against the barrier from fans getting themselves back into the crowd after crowd surfing.

Despite these events, I enjoyed seeing my favourite band playing live once again, and regretted not having enough money at the time of ticket sales to purchase one of ‘The Big Red Tickets’ that enabled fans to attend a performance of each of the six albums at a discounted price.

Scott Owen’s double bass was adorned with one of the album cover symbols from their latest release, 2011’s The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating. Is this the sign of a new beginning?

NOTE: My review of The Living End’s Roll On show @ The Corner Hotel 16/12/12 can be viewed here.

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